Primate Behaviour and Ecology - ANTB5800

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Nicholas Newton-Fisher checkmark-circle


This module introduces the disciplines of animal behaviour and behavioural ecology with particular reference to non-human primates. We look at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across species, combining established findings with the latest research. The module emphasises the importance of direct observation of animal/primate behaviour – introducing the necessary methods – and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. Topics covered include interactions between primates and their environments – primates as foragers, predators and prey – as well as the nature and evolution of primate societies, cognition and communication, and social and reproductive behaviour within groups. The module makes particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 31
Private study hours: 119
Total study hours: 150


BSc Anthropology
BSc Biological Anthropology
BSc Wildlife Conservation

Method of assessment

Multiple Choice Questions via Moodle (20%)
Examination, 2 hour (80%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

Campbell et al. (2010) Primates in Perspective. 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Dolhinow & Fuentes (1999) The Nonhuman Primates. Mayfield, London.

Fleagle (2013) Primate Adaptations and Evolution, 3rd Edition, Academic Press, San Diego.

Krebs, Davies & West (2012) Introduction to Behavioural Ecology 4th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Richard (1985) Primates in Nature. W.H.Freeman, London.

Strier (2011) Primate Behavioral Ecology. 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate systematic knowledge of evolutionary theory as it applies to primate behaviour.

8.2 Identify and understand the ways primates interact with one another and their environments.

8.3 Evidence a comprehensive understanding of the patterns and principles that account for the variation in ecology and behaviour of primates.

8.4 Provide detailed examples from a wide range of species to illustrate these patterns.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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